Nanny State AHOY!
"It's a simple solution: unless you have special license to do do otherwise (issued simply by passing any of a dozen or so basic PC, OS, and security tests), you should only be allowed to use common accepted OS on the net. that OS must be open to be checked by your ISP for patch revision, AV, and other security settings. Should the ISP see you out of date, they only allow you to connect to the update site, and nowhere else, until patched. If your AV is out of date, missing, or in some other form non-sufficient, the ISP won't let you on the net, period. If they detect an infection (mass mailing, spam, DDoS, etc) you get cut off instantly. When you call for support, they'll tell you plain and simple to get clean, or stay off the net."
Shudder. Thank you for neutering all the users who ARE smart enough to know how to do these things, and choose not to. A few years back, there was a Windows patch I was specifically choosing not to get because they frakked up something with the firewire drivers so that firewire devices, including cameras, hard drives, etc, were no longer detected. Installing said patch would have completely messed up my firewire hard drive, which was something I used on a daily basis. Should I cripple an expensive piece of hardware I paid for to keep my OS up to date?
As for anti-virus, I refuse to run any. Period. Why? Because every single AV suite I've tried over the past few years, since 2003 onward, has done things that were at least as bad as viruses, if not worse in many cases. And for what it's worth, the only time I've ever been infected was, ironically, in 2003. I was away from my computer for days at a time when Blaster happened. I wasn't able to patch my system and got infected. I fixed it as soon as I got back in front of my computer. But the funny thing is, after that, Norton, which is what I used at the time, started causing my computer to BSOD several times a day for no reason. Symantec could provide me with no solution to fix it, and didn't understand why I left my computer on anyway, so I dumped them. I tried numerous other AV suites in the two years after that - Panda, McAfee, etc, etc. The only one I had ever work semi-decently was Pc-Cillin. Panda and McAfee both kept deleting files it deemed "malicious" that were actually legitimate exe's, causing me several wasted hours over the course of a few days trying to figure out what it was doing and why - even when I had purposefully turned off the auto-scanning and auto-delete options, which it persisted doing despite my repeatedly checking that they were, indeed, off. There's no legitimate reason for doing this, and such "features" have probably caused more harm to both experienced and inexperienced users who would be at an utter loss to explain why a piece of software they used every day suddenly stopped working (in my case, a legitimate piece of FTP server software). Now, PC-Cillin never did anything like that to me, but it had the unfortunate problem of bogging my system down - and it's not an ancient system, it was only a year old at the time - to the point where I couldn't play games. Once I removed it, the games ran fine. I choose to, instead of running AV software, not browse like a tardstick.
I pay my ISP. They don't pay me. They don't pay for my computer. I don't think they have any right to tell me to update my operating system or force me to run antivirus software 24/7. I've given legitimate reasons for not doing both right here, and I'm by no means the only person who has run into such situations. If I become a problem and start spewing crap, fine - sandbox me. And when I clean up my machine and figure out what the source was, that should be the end of it.
A friend of mine who lived on a college campus had to deal with AV and OS policies like this, and he ended up moving off campus partly because of those restrictions. He would lose internet randomly even when his software was up to date and oftentimes was unable to contact anyone in the IT department at those times, meaning he'd go for, sometimes, days without internet access in his dorm room. Would *you* like to try and contact your ISP at 3 a.m. when your internet suddenly stopped working? I wouldn't. I don't have time to do that at any time of day. And you know you'd start seeing massive outages when ISPs screwed up started killing connections to tons of people for no reason at all. That would be awesome.
It's ironic. The same people complaining about Microsoft's activation scheme are probably some of the same people proposing a system much more complicated and rife with the possibility for flaws and abuse if, god forbid, a malicious hacker got in and managed to screw around with the ISPs database.
As someone who considers themselves a competent computer user who can usually troubleshoot her own problems, and has never needed to call a helpdesk for something that's not beyond my control (i.e. ISP outage issues), I can sympathize with some of the sentiment of the whole issue of computer licensing. I'm on the receiving end of some of the stupidest hardware and software issues in computing history on a fairly regular basis too. But I'm certainly not elitist or arrogant enough to believe that computer licensing would solve this problem. Someone earlier said that the IT helpdesk people should quit posting here. I concur. They wouldn't have jobs if every person who operated a computer were an expert at doing so. I sympathize with them for not wanting to help users with stupid problems, but at the same time, at least they're getting paid to do so. And when they aren't helping people, plenty of them are getting paid to sit around and do nothing but play games and chat online and e-mail people from work.
I don't know how much more of this whole nanny state I can take. It's something new every day. I'd love to give all the "nanny state" proponents their own country and see how long that would last. I'm guessing not terribly long. And it would probably be a very boring place to live.